James Stageberg

This Mod House – 4 Year Progress Report


Hi, You Guys!  Oh my gosh, where do I start after all this time?  I just updated my ‘About’ page, so feel free to click over there, if you want a refresh of what this blog and I are doing here.  Quick answer: getting back to having fun sharing our on-going house project.

We all have projects of varying degrees where we live.  Some of us are nuts and buy houses that need tons of help, and spend huge chunks of time (years) making them our own.  ‘No pain, no gain’ seems to be ingrained in our belief system.  We are excited and optimistic and ‘up for the challenge.’


Late winter 2013 – Bad start on the day of cabinet install…

Then, when work starts and things get too painful, we learn our limits.  Never again!!!, we say with absolute certainty.   Only to dive into the next project to come along.

We remodeled a house before this one, and one after (an investment property).  All came with big challenges, and all were so worth it.  I love doing this, even of it means some frustration and a few tears.  (Crying in front of a contractor did happen (twice), and I’m not proud of it, ugh.)

I left you hanging back in May 2014.  We were busy-busy getting ready for our daughter’s grad party.  A couple days before the big bash, the architect who helped us with the interior and exterior remodel came out to photograph our place.  I have been wanting to share some of his photos with you, so here they are, finally!

All photos below credited to John Dwyer Architect:




And there you have it.  Love these photos of our pre-party 2014 home!  I am so grateful John took these and was happy to share them with us.

Whew!  This feels really good to be catching up, but there’s so much more to talk about and show you!  We remodeled the basement summer of 2015, and John Dwyer designed a pergola for over our deck that was built this past summer.  There are new furnishings to show and upstairs bathroom remodeling plans in the works.  It’s going to be fun!

Many thanks to those continuing to follow our progress!  And if any new visitors would like to get an email alert when I have a new post, please join!  Comments/questions are always welcome too… Thanks again.  It’s great to be back.



An introduction is in order.

Hello reader!  My name is Allison, and I am a 41 year-old mom of four looking for a creative outlet of sorts to document the remodel of our new home.  So welcome to my blog.  I am flattered you have decided to take a look!  We have owned other homes in the past (4 to be exact, so our home purchases now out-number the kids, which qualifies as two ways we have over-extended ourselves!).  We have fixed them all up to varying degrees (homes and kids), but this new one is a doozy.  This remodel will be like none we have done before.

Here are photos of the subject:Image

Back of the house facing the yard.


Front the house (at an angle).


Now you can see the front door.

Interesting property, huh?  This bad-boy was originally built in 1964, designed by architect James Stageberg.  If you are into architecture and live in Minnesota, you may have heard of him.  Anyway, I admit that after learning this home was designed by a Harvard-educated architect, the rotted awnings and peeling paint couldn’t dissuade me from seeing the possibilities.  Another thing it had going for it, was its price.  As you can imagine, its condition turned off many a buyer.  Plus, it is located outside the hipper Minneapolis neighborhoods where modern architecture is better appreciated.  This house is just out of Saint Paul (our preferred twin city), where traditional reigns supreme, generally speaking (even though I hate generalizations).  There’s no denying it; this house is an odd-ball.  My intuition told me that this ugly-duckling could one day be a swan.  So we bought it!

The day we closed on the house, I started emailing architects, with hopes of getting started.  Our plan was (and still is) to stay in the apartment we moved to after closing on our old home, while work was happening in the new house.  So, just to clarify, we are not living in the house.  The six of us are in a cozy apartment.  It’s been 5 months.   At least it didn’t take me long to find the right architect.  He is actually a friend of an acquaintance.  But more important than that connection, he was the only one who didn’t flinch when I explained our budget.

THE BUDGET.  It may not mean much to you, considering you have yet to hear the extent of the work that needs to be done.  You have not seen the inside either.  Let’s just say the main floor is a total gut-job. Plus there’s the new carpet needed upstairs, new upstairs laundry, and basement improvements.   Oh! and the inspector  said a new roof is in order too.  How much would you guess needs to be put into this house?  As I am somewhat reluctant to share financial information, especially in this friendly format, instead of me just telling you our number, suffice it to say, it’s low.  Still a good chunk of change, but remodeling is expensive, and there’s a lot of work to be done.  I think of our budget as a challenge to be super creative.  And our architect seems to be on board with tapping his creativity in designing to our budget.  He’s young, and although admittedly busy, not too busy to take on our project.  So after a few preliminary meetings, he came up with some cool floor plans and elevations.  Discussion for another post, another day.  And you don’t want to miss hearing about our search for the right builder.  Stay tuned!